On the Lamb

For those of you wildcats still up at 10:44 p.m., which is when I am beginning this post, you will not HAVE to wait a whole night to hear about June's Adventures in Albemarle. That is because I am telling them to you now, Colombo. I would have thought the first sentence was self-explanatory.

First of all, the drive there is all country roads take me home, all the time. There are rolling hills, cotton fields, deer, cows, and do you know what else? SHEEPS and BABY SHEEPS!

Every time we dLambies_4rive past the sheep, I squeal and wave and carry on in my generally undignified way. But today? When I saw there were bitty lambs out there, too? I just pulled into the people's driveway. I'm sorry. I couldn't help it. I sat in their driveway for like 15 minutes, just staring at those lambs. One was so young he could barely walk, and he kept chasing after his mom for titty dinner, as my grandmother used to so eloquently put it.

It was a farm, obviously, so these people had a driveway that was 75,000 miles long (or maybe it was a meter), so they probably did not even notice the woman in the VW Bug waving at the lambs. Anyway, it was delightful and I barely even worried about getting anthrax.

Finally, I made it to Vac and Dash, the running store that also sells vacuums. Do you know I was in there for more than an hour? I was the only person in there, and I got a parking spot right in front of the store, like they do in the movies. I had the best time! The owner loved my line "I suck at running, so I'm getting my shoes at a vacuum store" so much that he's putting it on a Tshirt.

I got me some fancy shoes, and some padded double something-or-0ther socks, and he threw in a free long-sleeved Tshirt from the store that reads, "Vac and Dash. We'll get there eventually."

He hosts many running events in Albemarle, this guy. He was encouraging me to join him, and when I told him I ran a 14-minute mile, he and his employee laughed like they thought I was kidding. Sad.

Finally, I got home just in time to join Marvin Gardensalad and many of his teacher friends for a night of bowling. They had completely changed their original plans and were (a) bowling at night and (b) bowling in a different city, because THAT bowling alley sells drinks. Did I mention all of Marvin's other teacher friends are like 24?

We had a great time. I bowled a STUNNING 83, and when I said, "Eighty-three! The year I graduated!" two of the teachers said, "Eighty-three. The year I was born." Could someone just beat me with a pin?

So, I guess we could say I got in some physical activity today. If bowling really counts. One of the other teachers and I decided we needed to lift weights and come back to the alley in a few months, because by the second game, I could barely throw that eight-pound ball. I also stuck the ball under my shirt and tried to imagine being really pregnant, and I do not know how you women ever did that while maintaining a happy attitude. It seems like it'd be uncomfortable.

Maybe I should join that running group in Albemarle, even though I'd be the loser slow runner. Maybe it'd increase my time. Maybe I could move in with the sheep farmers so I'd have a slower commute. Those babies were sweet!

Running in a vacuum

I have started reading my half-marathon book, and of course he talked about running shoes right away.

Having Runrun one marathon (and by the way, could I have had more stuff in my hand?), I remember the importance of the running shoe. If you have the wrong shoe, your feet basically fall off and you have to walk around on stumps. I am not even exaggerating. If you have the wrong shoe, you actually fantasize about running on your hands,  having a fellow runner grab your legs and you wheelbarrow to the finish line.

Shoes last for about 500 miles. I have no idea how many miles I have on my current shoes (wouldn't it be great if they put little mileage ticker thingamabobs on your running shoe?) (what the Sam Hill word am I trying to come up with? pedometer? ODOMETER! That's it! Oh, thank heavens I thought of it because I'd be a nutbar trying to figure it out all day), but keep in mind I did not buy anything last year, so we know these shoes are at least a year old.

I remember going to Pasadena with Marvin Gardens one year, and we bought running shoes together and then we went to this sweets shop where they have caramel apples covered in all sorts of elaborate things like nuts, dark chocolate, white chocolate, Barbie shoes, M&M's, red-hots, and things of that ilk. It is a good kind of a store.

Anyway, the point is I ended up getting a nut down my windpipe and I choked in public and Marvin got mad at me. I didn't do it to draw attention to myself, but at this point Marvin automatically assumes my every move is calculated to have the spotlight. I am sure he figured after Heimlich-ing  me, I'd stand up and shout "Ta-DAAAAAA!" to the room.

So that is the last time I remember buying a running shoe, which I really think was like 2005.

Therefore, I am abandoning my plans with Marvin to go to Rockingham to go bowling, and instead I am going to Albemarle to the running store. Yes, I realize every town around us has an American Idol. I do not know what this means, although I certainly know it does not mean that I am the NEXT….American Idol. Recently I scared my cat to death singing "Climb Every Mountain" in front of him. He wanted to climb every mountain to escape my voice.

The running store in Albemarle is also a vacuum cleaner store. It is called Run and Vac or Vac and Dash or something. The owner is really, really into running, though, and they have a wide selection. It's kind of perfect for me, because I suck at running. Get it? Get the funny vacuum joke I worked in there?

So tomorrow you have June's Adventures in Albemarle to hear about. I know, it's gonna be hard to sleep tonight, isn't it?

Half Time

So, my book came today. It is a book on running a half-marathon, which by the way I bought on Amazon through dcrmom's blog.

Apparently, if you go to her blog and click the Amazon ad, she gets money for it. It was no skin off my nose, which is a really disgusting phrase, to go to her site to get to Amazon as opposed to going straight to Amazon. In fact, why don't you all save your noses and order your Amazon goods through her site? Let's turn her into a millionaire, simply because it might be fun to watch. What say you?

So, the person who wrote my half marathon book is Jeff Galloway, an Olympic marathoner (me, too) who also wrote the book on running full marathons that I read back in 2000, when I was young and nubile.

When Marvin Gardensalad saw that I bought this book, he said, "Why don't you just read half of your marathon book instead?"

Really, the hilarity. How do I get through the day without stitching up my sides, with that jokester over here?

My plan is to sit around all weekend reading it, which kind of defeats the purpose of training for a half-marathon, so maybe I'll throw some physical activity in there.

I ran on the treadmill again yesterday, and one wonders why I am so dinglity danglity slow. Perhaps I should set up a screen behind me with images of a man chasing me with a knife, or a lion charging me or something.

One time, someone told me this hideous story, and I can't remember who told it to me, but if you are home alone, do not read the next paragraph.

Whoever this woman was, she was home alone in a big house — she may have been house sitting, in fact — and she was upstairs in bed, and in the middle of the night she heard a music box downstairs! Which meant someone was down there and had opened it! Doesn't that just give you chilblains? Isn't that awful? Now, what I would do in that situation is completely freeze, giving the bad person ample time to get upstairs and find me and chop me into mince meat pie. The friend, I recall, called the police and all was well.

Who TOLD me that story? Is it any of my old friends reading this? Because apparently I was so traumatized I blanked who you were. I hope the reason I know this story is not because the friend called ME for help and I am just coming back to reality right now. Which could totally be the case, because, folks, you do NOT want me in an emergency situation. I will get breathless and flap my hands. I will turn into Aunt PittyPat. Do not get ill or die on my watch, please.

Finally, I just figured out that this weekend is the Super Bowl, isn't it? That is why my Google homepage is giving recipes for potato skins, which sounds delicious, and also why every commercial is for large-screen TVs.

I couldn't be more indifferent to sports. Honestly, if you told me Joe Namath was playing, I would totally believe you. It'll be hard to tear myself away from my half-marathon book to watch that game. Wooo! Go, whoever!

Chocolate by Death

Once summer, my mother and I were at a fair. There was some sort of fund raiser — I forget now what cause it was — and for ten dollars you could hold a baby lion or tiger, and have your picture taken with it.

I wanted to go so bad, and my mother said no, no, it's getting hot, let's not wait in line. I said please, please let me go.

"If I can hold a baby lion, I'll never be sad again," I told her.

Now, here is the part where I was gonna scan in the photo of me holding the baby lion, because what's funny about this story is that I was 38 at the time, and I know it sounds like I was, you know, four. But do you think I can find that DING and also DANG picture? When I packed up to move here, I put the picture in a book. I said to myself (and don't you hate people who say, "I said to myself, 'Self…' " Okay, stop. Stop now.), I said, this is a good idea. The picture won't get crinkled, and I will find it some day when I am rereading this book.

I just spent the last hour, opening every book in this entire house. I have dust up my nose holes, and my legs hurt from squatting. I cannot find that picture ANYWHERE! I did discover that we own a copy of Look Homeward Angel, though, which I have always wanted to read, particularly now that I am in North Carolina.

This is turning into the longest story ever.

My POINT is that holding that baby lion was the happiest moment of my whole life. I know that is a terrible thing to tell you. I should say it was the day I met Marvin Gardens, or the day I got my diploma or the day I got lipo. But no. Really? My wedding day was a wonderful day*, and it's for sure my best day, but as for moments? Holding the baby lion was really it.

I have, however, been sad since then, and my mother has to point out all the time that I promised her if we stood in that hot line to hold that baby lion, I'd never be sad again. Okay, so maybe I was exaggerating a tad. Has my mother ever met me? Geez.

Today, before I exhausted myself looking for that picture, I got home from my pressing four-hour workday, and I got out of my car and went straight to the mailbox, and I am delighted to tell you that NetFlix sent me not one but TWO DVDs of Six Feet Under, with which I am obsessed. It was all I could do not to squeal.

Just then, a red truck pulled into my driveway, and one of the parishioners at church brought me an enormous piece of dark chocolate cake with dark chocolate frosting that his wife had just made. She made him take me over a piece. Wives are wonderful people.

So, I am sorry to report that I had ANOTHER unhealthy eating moment today, which I know isn't very inspirational of me. I promise I will do better tomorrow and I am going to run today right after Miss Lilly time.

But really? Between you, me and all the other people reading this? Sitting there, eating my dark chocolate cake and watching Six Feet Under? Two things I did not know I would be doing when the day began?

Right up there with baby lion day.

*(Perhaps had Marvin actually looked at me when I walked down the aisle on our wedding day, that might have been a nice moment. But seeing as I looked at the back of his HEAD all the way down, no.) (Oh, he is gonna be so happy I brought this up. This is like how every time I meet one of my father's friends, I waste no time telling them how he cut off all my hair when I was two and had my cat put down when I was six.)

Sonic Youthful No More

Your close, personal pal June has to tell you something.

Remember yesterday, when Heath Ledger died and I said I was off to do Australian yoga lady? Well, not DO Australian yoga lady, as I am married and not allowed to pursue those sorts of activities any longer, but rather work out to the yoga DVD hosted by an Australian lady?

Remember that?

Guess who went to Sonic instead and had her an extra-long chili cheese dog with onion?

Could my path have veered any further from the whole yoga-with-Aussie plan? Instead of clearing my chi, I cleaned the cheese off my steering wheel when I was done. Man, it was good.

And then, guess what? Who woke up at 2 a.m. sick as a pooch?

Why is it when you wake up at 2 .m., you somehow feel sicker than if you got sick during the middle of the day? It is such a panicky feeling, feeling ill in the middle of the night. Oh, I felt bad. I felt like my insides were on fire from my throat to my distended abdomen. I wanted to barf and cry and never, ever eat anything chili-cheese related again.

I made myself go back to sleep and I am perfectly fine today, but I'd say this is my punishment for blowing off course. I almost blew off course, all right. Yeesch.

Also, I forgot to tell you yesterday that when I was reading to Miss Lilly, she asked me what a peacock looks like. This did not just come from out of the blue; our book has a whole peacock theme going on, and I am afraid I did my peacock-calling impression for her, which I can do because I spent about 85 hours a week at the children's zoo in my hometown from birth until I moved away at age 27. I should have been a vet or a farmer or something.

The point of my story is, have you ever tried to explain what a peacock looks like to a person who is blind? It was not so easy. I went on and on when I got to the whole tail feather part, and when I finished, she said, "Sounds like a turkey to me."

Again, the whole you-should-write-a-book thing? Maybe not so much.

Gifts and yoga and death

Other than the part where Heath Ledger died, this has been a lovely day.

Wasn't that shocking? Here we all are waiting for the Britney news, and he has to up and die. I thought he was a wonderful actor, and also cute. Who knew he was all up in the valley of the dolls?

In my actual real life, I got the news that my friend Blanche had a baby. I called her (I want you to know she called ME and TOLD me to call her, otherwise I would never call anyone who had a newborn because my mother would flip her lid and then poop a brick, which you have to admit is kind of tempting to inspire, isn't it?), and instead of baby discussions, we ended up talking about her golden Retriever, Daisy, for twenty minutes. And yes, capitalizing "Retriever" and lowercasing "golden" is correct.

Do you know what I hate? People who say "golden Lab." It is a YELLOW Lab or a GOLDEN Retriever. There is no such thing as a golden Lab. And what's with the word "golden," anyway? What's wrong with just "gold"? Don't they mean the same thing?

I have been proofreading all afternoon. Can you tell? I have been cleaning up after another proofreader, who is usually better at proofing than I am but I think she was smoking the golden bowl while she worked (see that? I got the word "golden" in, even though it made absolutely no sense), because she was making all KINDS of bizarre changes. "Italicize this! Even though up until now we never did! Make this all caps just for fun! Wooo! smoke smoke smoke…"

Chase that dragon, girl. Get that monkey off your back. Whatever.

My other good news is that when I got home from work — the secretary work, not the clean-up-after-Courtney-Love-the-proofreader work — there was a package waiting for me from coffeegal, who not only has a blog that I like, but now she is selling cute kitchen-y things, as well, and if you guys think you're gonna snatch up that heart apron before me, you are sadly mistaken.

Anyway, she sent me some fitness gee-gaws, which includes one of those large water jugs that looks like a miniature version of an at-work water cooler. Only it has a handle. Do you feel like you're right here looking at it with me? See what I mean, when people say I should write a book, and I ignore them? This is why. Anyway, she got me a cute water holder.

And also too, she gave me the prettiest blank book, and I do love me a journal. And she had good gift presentation too. I like me the coffee gal. I mean, I liked her before she plied me with gifts, too.

My third and final piece of good news is that today when I went to the nursing home to read to Miss Lilly, there was a beautiful long-haired black kitty hanging outside! I plan to seduce him and bring him home. He looks exactly like my cat Ruby, so I can totally fool Marvin Gardensalad for weeks, at least. "No, that's Ruby! I know she was just in the bedroom. Now she's here! What?"

I am off to do yoga with the Australian "meter" lady again, and this time I will have all of your jeering comments on how big a meter is to aid me. By the way, is it a bad sign that I sound like I am crinkling up a Doritos bag every time I move into another position? I sound like this: crickle, crackle, crackle.

Is that bad?

I Have a Dream Whip

Does anybody else remember Dream Whip dessert topping? Am I the least deep person on the planet that I take an important topic like Martin Luther King and turn it into thoughts of nondairy topping?

Does anybody similarly remember 1-2-3 Jello? It was a Jello dessert that had three layers of the same flavor. The top was sort of whipped creamy, and the bottom layer was your straight Jello. I have no idea what the poor middle child layer was.

I had a friend from London who was five years younger than me, and once she had a sweater on that was graduated colors of pink and I told her she looked like 1-2-3 Jello and she had no idea what I meant. Which is why you should not make friends with anyone from other countries or generations.

I am less Eeyore today, but I am no Guy Smiley yet, either. I did do my three miles on the treadmill, which may explain my preoccupation with desserts of the '70s. I was slow, but Time For Me to Fly came on my iPod, which amused me and made me think of 10th grade as no other song really could.

And whoever said that I would soon warm up once I got running on the treadmill in that cold back room, you were Righty Rightenstein. I am actually too hot now, and it's like 21 degrees outside.

So far in this post I have mentioned Guy Smiley, Martin Luther King Jr., Eeyore and some fictional Jewish person named Righty Rightenstein. Really, it's better when I am sad.

My other good news, not that I've had any before this moment, is that a faithful blog reader up and sent me some work today! She has her own design business doing window treatments (and I will  link you to her site as soon as it is up), which I am afraid resulted in me writing her back making many "shady" jokes about windows. I was a real "pane." Fortunately, she was able to "valance" my bad jokes against my "sheer" skills as an editor.

Somebody pull the cord, now.

Eeyore called. Wants his outlook back.

Sorry I didn't type you yesterday. I have been glum glum glum. As a result, I haven't exercised, and yesterday I had Hamburger Helper and mashed potatoes for dinner.

Which, as a surprising result, means I have lost no weight yet this month. Really?! After Hamburger Helper and mashed potatoes?

For a while there I was down a pound, and now I am back up. Crap. Of course, the point of this year is to be healthy, not lose weight, but I was hoping I would just a little anyway.

You know, seriously, I was not content in LA. It is huge, there is no public transportation so you spend half your life in traffic, and it was too expensive. We made scads of money yet no way could we afford a house. But it turns out? I am not so happy in the world's smallest town, either. In fact, I am kind of 1988 depressed. And for anyone who knew me in 1988, you know that isn't pretty.

Why did we have to be so extreme? Why'd we have to go from the second-largest city in America to a town with three thousand people? I guess the answer to that is that this is where Marvin got a job. But I think we have to go. We have to move to Raleigh or Charlotte or something. I need yoga. I need gay men. I need people with tattoos, other than myself. (A ring of forget-me-nots and crescent moons on one ankle, and the Eiffel Tower on the other ankle. Sue me. I lived in Seattle, it was a prerequisite for living there.)

I have been here six months and I do not feel any better. It's not like I haven't been out and about, either. And to no longer have a full-time job proofreading is depressing me. It was part of who I was. And let's face it, I am a terrible secretary. All of this has led to me kind of hating poor Marvin Gardensalad, who really is not to blame. But he's so nearby so it's easy to hate his guts about this.

So I have been online applying for every proofreader job in the state of North Carolina, of which there are two. No, really. Two. There are seven million proofreader positions offered in NY and LA — including my last job, but I think that's just because the new person is still going through their probationary status.

So that's the weepy news over here. I know I am no fun to hear from today. If I cheer up after doing a big run on the treadmill, you'll be the first to know.

Here’s Looking at Your Sports Bra, Kid

For all of you who wrote to tell me a meter is a yard? I don't know how big a yard is, either. I mean, a yard. Isn't that a large space where dogs can play? THAT'S how far I have to spread my feet during yoga? Wow. Is that a fenced-in yard, or….?

So, it's official. I have signed up for the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach this summer. I'm rockin' out with my pedometer out.

My friend Sleeping Beauty actually knows how to run, you know, fast. I have the feeling 20 years of friendship are going down the tubes as we run this thing together.

One time Sleeping Beauty and I took a vacation together [see below. Won't you enjoy my tie-dye and also my Swatch watch?]. We rented a little cabin on a lake in West Branch, Michigan for a week. I swear I am not lying when I tell you we brought (a) baby carrots and (2) a box of wine as our nutrients for the entire week. 


[Note: I just called Sleeping Beauty to make sure it was okay that I put her picture in this blog, and she says she doesn't remember the baby carrots.]

Anyway, we were driving to the cabin and on our way we passed a Jeep full of young boys. "Look at them," Sleeping Beauty said. "Every time a car passes them, all four of their heads turn in unison to check if it's a hot woman."

So I did what any self-respecting woman would do. Or maybe not. I took off my shirt and sat as calm as you please, in my bra, as we drove past their stupid Jeep. Finally their unison head-swivel was worth it for them.

What I am saying is we will probably have fun at our half-marathon. Maybe we can put wine in our water bottles, or just run in our sports bras. That'll be pretty.

But if we don't, we'll always have West Branch.

California Rolls on my Waistline

Marvin Gardensalad and I just saw two deer right down the street from us! Oh! They were so pretty. I rolled down the window and said hello and told them I loved them very much. They seemed indifferent to my affections.

Now I am worried that they are cold. Marvin said I could knit them some deerwarmers.

Who delights in his every utterance? Is it Marvin?

Anyway, Big Storm 2008 hit us, with about a fourth of an inch of snow. You can still see the grass. Nevertheless, Marvin’s school was delayed two hours. Yeesch.

Speaking of a fourth of an inch, you know that yoga DVD I’ve been doing? The woman leading the thing is from Australia, and she keeps telling me to stand with my legs a meter apart.

Okay, I am in America. Couldn’t they have dubbed in a normal measurement? Isn’t a meter like a mile? I seriously have no idea. I just stand with my feet apart and hope for the best. Stupid foreign measurements. Hey, I have two Australian readers! Clear it up for me, will you? And don’t make fun of me that I do not know your foreign Australian ways, with your didgeridoos and your boomerangs and such.

Oh, and thanks, everyone, for commenting yesterday! Aren’t you all nice. Now I need you to comment again. Does anyone have any good healthy dinner suggestions? I am having a bagel or a banana for breakfast, I have a can of plain almonds at work, I have a turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomato for lunch, usually, and carrots and hummus as a snack, but girlfriend is hurting for interesting dinner ideas.

Today we went out to eat at one of the three restaurants that aren’t fast food in this town. Well, there’s a fourth restaurant, but it’s Chinese buffet food, and you could not pay me to go to that bacteria fest. Anyway, we went to a Mexican restaurant and got California burritos, which were on special tonight. Livin’ large. A California burrito has redwood trees, smog and Crips in it. Delish.

So, please advise. Something healthy that does not involve shrimp, cilantro or grapefruit.

Let’s see how long it takes some wise guy to bring out his shrimp cilantro salad with grapefruit pieces recipe.